The summer heat and sun have become a really health threat, particularly for children. Sunscreen should definitely be part of a regular routine when outdoor activities in the scorching summer heat are planned. However, many schools have banned sunscreen without a doctor’s note. The summer is early and one Washington family has learned how students are affected by the school sunscreen ban.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, sunscreen is regulated as a drug that does not need a doctor’s prescription. Doctors recommend the use of sunscreen not only for adults, but for kids too, particularly when the daily agenda has longtime exposure to the sun. However, many schools in America have banned the use of sunscreen over allergic concerns. Two girls from Washington have learned what it’s like spending time in the sun without sunscreen on the hard way.
Jesse Michener of Tacoma, Washington, has two girls: Violet and Zoe, both students with the Tacoma School District. During a field day the girls spent time in the sun and got severe sun burns because nobody had sunscreen on, given the ban. The two students had to be hospitalized.
The mother explained that Zoe is suffering from a form of albinism, making her skin very sensitive to the sun. She said she regrets not putting sunscreen on them herself before the two girls left for the field day because it was raining. Even if she had, doctors say sunscreen should be reapplied every three hours, but that’s against school policy.
“They couldn’t even reapply sunscreen without a doctor’s note. They couldn’t carry that in their backpacks” complained the mother.
Dan Voelpel, spokesman for the Tacoma School District, defends the school, saying the policy only abides by the state law. “Because so many additives in lotions and sunscreens cause allergic reaction in children, you have to really monitor that” he said.
But doctors are really worried with the policy. Dermatologist Doris Day told ABC News that childhood sunburns “dramatically” increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. “I can’t see any justification for any school to tell a child that they are not allowed to apply sunscreen” concluded Doris Day.
What do you think? Are the schools right to ban sunscreen without a doctor’s note over concern for allergic reactions?